#01119
The Bold Trooper (Kenneth Peacock)
(The Trooper And The Tailor)

There was a rich merchant in London did dwell,
He had but one daughter whom his heart loved well;
He had but one daughter whose name it was Nell,
And her husband was called the bold trooper.
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

There was a poor tailor who lived very nigh,
And on this fair damsel he soon fixed his eye.
"Five pounds I will give you one night for to lie,
While your husband is out upon duty."
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

"Oh, yes, mister tailor, you speak very right,
My husband is out upon duty tonight;
But if he comes home you'll get a great fright,
Beware of my husband the trooper."
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

They took off their clothes and they got into bed,
And thoughts of the trooper never ran in their head.
"Oh, hide me, oh, hide me," the poor tailor said,
"For I heard the loud knock from the trooper."
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

"There's a three-cornered cupboard behind the hall door,
Go jump into that, you'll be safe and secure;
And I will go down and open the door,
And welcome my husband the trooper."
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

Nellie went down and opened the door,
And welcomed her husband with kisses and curls;
"For your kisses and curls I don't care a pin,
Light in a good fire," said the trooper.
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

"There is no fire in and no fire stuff,
So jump into bed, you'll be soon warm enough!"
"That three-cornered cupboard behind the hall door,
I'll burn it this night," said the trooper.
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

"Oh, husband, dear husband, grant my desire,
The three-cornered cupboard's too good for the fire;
And in it I keep my game-cock I admire."
"Show me your game-cock," said the trooper.
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

He went to the cupboard and opened the door,
And there sat the tailor so safe and secure;
One pluck by the neck he came out on the floor,
"Is this your game-cock?" said the trooper!
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

He took a short whip and called for his shears,
And then he cropped off the tailor's ears;
Who for his night's lodging was going to pay dear,
Adieu the poor croppèd tailor!
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

And he took out his sword and cut off his head,
And took it to Nellie who lay in the bed,
Saying, "Nellie, oh, Nellie, your game-cock is dead,
He received his last blow from the trooper."
      Right fall the diddle I, right fall the diddle I,
      Right fall the diddle loo rah lie doh.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of the theme in the British broadside ballad, The Boatsman And The Chest [Laws Q8] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, Tailor And Trooper, archived without a publisher or a date at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: 2806 c.17(414). Also a variant of an incomplete British broadside ballad, The Bold Trooper, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1863 and 1885, and archived at the Bodleain Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(3458) ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Henry James (Harry) Curtis [1895-1963] of Joe Batt's Arm, NL, and published with two variants in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.243-248, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that tailors are often objects of ridicule and scorn in traditional literature. Perhaps that is why the cuckolded trooper exacted such an elaborate and harsh revenge. However, the castration symbolism is so obvious that Peacock thought it would be safe to assume that the tailor was not actually killed, merely maimed. Notice in the last verse that the trooper says, "your game-cock is dead," not "your tailor is dead." Cutting off the tailor's ears seems drastic enough surgery to end his philandering career, but apparently the trooper was taking no chances and did a complete job. Peacock also noted that for a related ballad where the tailor hides in a chest, see The Old Bo's'n.


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